A few weeks ago I spent 10 days down at my family’s apartment in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. I’ve been coming to Miami ever since I can remember. My grandparents moved to North Miami Beach/Sunny Isles in the 1970’s, and when they passed away in the early 90’s my Dad and my Uncle held on to the place. So this is my home away from home. I try to make it down to the apartment 2-3 times a year, especially during the cold weather months.
The trip started out with some good fortune. Delta had overbooked the flight and asked for a volunteer to give up their seat for $500, and take a flight 3 hours later. I’ve always wanted an opportunity to take an airline up on one of those offers, so I nudged Amanda to speak up, and she ended up getting both of us $500 Amex gift cards! (which is wayyy better than a $500 Delta voucher). To add to the good fortune, we then had to move to the new Delta terminal at JFK, where I had complimentary access to a Priority Pass lounge with my newly acquired Citi Prestige card.
We landed in Miami International Airport, which I usually avoid just because it’s an airport that’s more of a hassle than Fort Lauderdale airport for me, but the tickets we bought were so cheap that I had to grin and bear it. What makes it even worse now is that Florida has created these toll roads without toll booths so you’re forced to rent a plate-pass for an absurd amount of money with the rental car agency. Most of the roads I use in-and-around Miami don’t have tolls so it seemed like a waste of money to me. Turns out the only toll-road I needed access to was the easiest route for leaving and accessing the airport. When I flew into Miami in May of 2014, the toll road had toll booths where I’d pay my $1 toll and continue on my merry way, but now it’s not even an option to pay with cash. It’s quite the racket if you ask me. I ended up having to use Google Maps to figure out a route that didn’t utilize toll-roads and made the trip ~20 minutes longer. Next time I know better, I won’t ever fly into or out of Miami again, unless it’s a major cost savings!
First stop upon arriving in FL? Le Tub. Easily one of my favorite burger joints, and a regular stop on every one of my Miami trips, located 10 minutes north of my apt in Hollywood,FL. Massive juicy cheeseburgers, perfectly cooked steak fries and a couple of Red Stripes outside on the Intra-coastal is little slice of heaven. Usually one might be a little peeved when the waitress tells you there is a 90 minute wait for a burger and fries. I didn’t mind one bit, I was on vacation. This meal left us full for the rest of the evening, honestly, I think it took a good 6 hours for me to digest everything fully.
The next morning I was up bright and early to get a round of golf in at the Diplomat Golf Course to shake off some the rust for my impending round at Doral Blue Monster, thanks to my Citi Prestige card. I was pretty happy with my round shooting an 88. Especially since the last time I picked up a golf club was when I was in Miami at the end of October. The course is not worth the rack-rate, but sometimes I’m able to find tee times at a sizable discount on teeoff.com.
I recently acquired a Citi Prestige card, which will most likely get its own review at some point. One of the perks that doesn’t get a lot of attention is the 3 free rounds of golf each year, when booked through their portal.
The site isn’t very user-friendly, but that doesn’t matter because it’s 3 free rounds! I was hesitant at first, but a customer service representative assured me that indeed the first 3 rounds were free, no matter how much the rounds were. So a $450 round at Doral Blue Monster? I don’t mind if I do! Some other notable courses on the list:
- PGA West – TPC Stadium Course – CA ($240 a round)
- Pasatiempo – Santa Cruz CA – ($230)
- TPC Scottsdale Stadium Course – AZ ($300)
- The Boulders Golf Club – AZ ($200)
- Old Homestead – Cascade – VA ($200)
- Bali Hai – Vegas – ($250)
- Banff Springs – Alberta – Canada ($230)
- Chambers Bay – WA ($240)
So while I played some golf at a bucket list course, Amanda got a spa day in. The course was in great condition, as they were prepping for the World Golf Championship already. There’s no way I’d pay $450 to play there again, but it was a great experience for the amount of money I did pay. Having a forecaddy really makes things a lot easier and definitely added to the experience. All in all I ended up paying $100 for the round with the forecaddy, tip, lunch and valet car service. Thanks Citi Prestige!
Stay tuned for part 2 of My Miami, where I dive into Joe’s Stone Crab and Wynwood…